The chauffeur’s car
A few laughed 30 years ago when Audi entered the DTM – they didn’t laugh for long.
Three decades after Audi first won the DTM Championship, the brand says farewell to this fierce competition in similarly dominant style.
21 October, 2020
René Rast winning all four of the races at Zolder, Belgium to take the driver’s championship lead
Over the weekend, Audi Sport once again put on a masterclass at the penultimate round of the 2020 German Touring Car Masters (DTM) with defending champion, René Rast winning all four of the races at Zolder, Belgium to take the driver’s championship lead.
The result gave the German driver 109 of the 112 points on offer for the weekend as well as his 23rd DTM. This feat alone made him one of three drivers in the history of the DTM to score 23 race wins and only two drivers – Bernd Schneider and Klaus Ludwig – have won more.
“I’m pretty speechless,” said Rast at the end of his stellar weekend. “It was a very difficult race today. A lot could have gone wrong, but it all worked out for us. We made the right decisions at the right moments and my Audi RS 5 DTM was terrific again today.”
With just the Hockenheim rounds still to contest, regardless of whether Rast maintains his lead, or fellow Audi driver, Nico Muller reels him him, an Audi driver will hold the driver’s championship cup aloft for 2020. Audi has already claimed the Manufacturer’s title and Team’s title for the year, and it is a fitting way for the brand to wrap up it long association with this thrilling motorsport series as it looks to new motorsport challenges from 2021.
It’s 30 years since the brand first made its debut in DTM, and, interesting it was at Zolder that Hans-Joachim Stuck took the first podium for Audi, driving the now famous Audi V8 quattro DTM.
This is a race that the celebrated driver calls ‘one of the five greatest race experiences’ he’s ever had.
Audi arrived at the DTM after writing motorsport history all over the world with its quattro permanent all-wheel drive. First the World Rally championship was shaken by the all-paw Audis and then the Audi 200 quattro and Audi 90 quattro IMSA-GTO dominated in the USA.
When Audi Sport entered the DTM, the racing version of the Audi V8 also featured quattro all-wheel drive and yet, its stately appearance elicited snide remarks from some of the opposition, who called it a ‘chauffeur’s car.
With the celebrated German driver, Hans-Joachim Stuck, at the wheel though, that laughter was short lived as the Audi proved more than a match for the BMWs, Opals and Mercedes-Benz entries in the series.
In that first race at Zolder, his steering rod was damaged from a shunt on the first lap and he was forced to pit. Restarting the race in 17th position, he blasted his way through the field in front of a massive crowd of more than 100,000 spectators to bring the Audi in in 3rd position.
It was just one race in what was a thrilling debut season, and Stuck, very much the crowd favourite, went on to win the championship, stamping the Audi Sport name on yet another top level motorsport series, and the following year, Audi managed to successfully defend the title with Frank Biela at the wheel of the Audi V8.
Although none could know it at the time, this was just the start of what would go on to be a 30 year association with the DTM.
Stuck, very much the crowd favourite, went on to win the championship, stamping the Audi Sport name on yet another top level motorsport series
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